Iran’s annual funding for SMEs to top $2.4bn: CBI governor

Iranian authorities say government funding for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in current Iranian calendar year which ends in March would amount to $2.4 billion.

“The amount of credit paid to the manufacturing sector would increase this year while up to 300 trillion rials worth of credit would be earmarked to the SMEs,” Governor of Central Bank of Iran Abdol Nasser Hemmati said on Sunday.

Another Iranian official said earlier in the day that the government would use resources from the country’s sovereign wealth fund to finance the SMEs.

Mohsen Salehi Nia, a deputy minister of industries and commerce said that SMEs active in the manufacturing sector would receive up to $1.6 billion from the government in the form of loans.

The official said half of the budget would be financed through the Iranian banking system and the rest would come from the National Development Fund of Iran, a mechanism which is independent of the government budget and seeks to channel oil and gas revenues to the productive industries.

Reports have shown that SMEs accounted for around 10 percent of Iran’s non-oil exports last year as they managed to export $400 million worth of goods and services in the 12-month period ending last March.

Unverified estimates also suggest the SMEs, which have a limited number of personnel compared to large companies, make up more than 90 percent of businesses and enterprises across Iran.

Feeling the impacts of illegal US sanctions since last year, the Iranian government has sought to diversify the economy and empower businesses that can boost export and reduce the country’s reliance on oil revenues.

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